BOSTON – Six candidates are running for U.S. Congress in the Third District of Massachusetts. They hope to oust long-time Democrat incumbent, James McGovern. One Republican candidate, Michael Stopa, a Harvard University physicist, unabashedly piques my interest, and not because I live in his district — I reside in the Commonwealth’s First District.
He is energizing because he candidly acknowledges he is “not a politician,” and he believes “…in the genius of the Constitution.”
Lack of Experience Political Norm
Mike Stopa is a 56-year-old father of four and resides in middle class Holliston. He specializes in computation and nanotechnology in Harvard’s Physics Department. He has been at Harvard since 2004. Although his career background is atypical of most Massachusetts politicians, it is appropriate because after all, Stopa is “not a politician.”
Ordinarily, I would call foul play on a candidate lacking some sort of political experience. However, discontented these days with politics, but tolerant to change, it does not take much to sway me from my old-school manner of thought. What does experience have to do with a political post anyway?
For instance, six candidates are running for Massachusetts State Auditor. Only one, Mary Connaughton, is truly an accountant. Is it illogical for me to believe that the person charged with holding the government accountable for its spending, would be an accountant? Apparently, being an accountant has no bearing on the position of State Auditor — so why not put a physicist in Congress?
Consider the recent Senate approval of former Harvard Law School Dean, Elena Kagan, to the Supreme Court. With nary an ounce of judicial or courtroom experience under her belt, she now carries the title of associate justice of the Supreme Court. That stark reality leaves little room for the lack-of-experience debate over a non-politician Harvard scientist making a run for Congress.
Tangible Kind of Guy
Like the first blast of cool, fall air in New England, Mike Stopa’s unassuming view of himself is invigorating. On his campaign website, he affirms he is a lifelong, fiscally conservative Republican, which he says, “… is not popular ideology at Harvard.” He is not shy about being a “…definite Washington outsider.”
Among his core beliefs, Mike Stopa hails the concept of free market, which he feels “…generates innovation.” He argues — “high taxes undermine incentive.” Even though I disagree with his train of thought on local government being “better” than central government; I have to side with his statement, “No government rule is free from bias; no government expert is free from ideology.”
Voters are gearing up for Massachusetts’ Sept. 14 primary election. Emotion is running high in the political arena. Although considered a liberal state, many Massachusetts voters appear to be on the fence these days.
In a radio interview on WCRN radio in Worcester, MA, Mike Stopa claimed his district “is not as liberal as some think.” Massachusetts voters stunned the country in January when they elected Republican Scott Brown to the Senate. With this mind, what the people will be looking for in the upcoming elections is anyone’s guess.
If one of your core beliefs rests in the power of the Constitution, Mike Stopa, agrees with you. The Harvard physicist running for Congress, states his passion for the Constitution by saying, “Our Constitution was written by men who were concerned foremost with the concentration and abuse of power.” A virtual unknown candidate — does Mike Stopa have a chance?
“Scott Brown Won’t Vote to Confirm Elena Kagan Even Though He Admits She’s Brilliant,” The Huffington Post
Elias J. Croll, “Senate Confirms Former HLS Dean Elena Kagan to Supreme Court,” The Harvard Crimsom
WCRN Radio Worcester – Mike Wade Interview With Mike Stopa
Mike Stopa’s Harvard University Bio